Court Of Criminal Appeals Denies Appeal Of Man Convicted Of Beheading A Woman, Assaulting Another

Thursday, March 18th 2021, 4:28 pm
By: News 9

The man convicted in a 2014 beheading of a co-worker wants to be spared the death penalty. However, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Alton Nolen’s petition on Thursday.

A jury convicted Nolen in the September 25, 2014 murder and assault. Court documents said Nolen had been suspended from work at Vaughan Foods in Moore for making threats against a co-worker and was sent home.

He returned to the warehouse armed with a butcher knife.

He attacked Colleen Hufford and severed her head. He attempted to behead Traci Johnson. Court records show Johnson had reported Nolen’s threats to management. Johnson survived the attack.

Attorneys for Nolen filed an appeal on several grounds including arguing the death sentence should be vacated on the grounds that Nolen is ineligible for the death penalty due to intellectual disability.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals denied Nolen’s petition, affirming the lower court sentence.

In his ruling, presiding Judge Scott Rowland affirmed the jury’s conclusion. Rowland wrote:

“The jury’s finding that Nolen was previously convicted of a felony involving the use or threat of violence to the person; knowingly created a great risk of death to more than one person; that the murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; and that there existed a probability that Nolen would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society was amply supported by the evidence.”

Rowland said the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating circumstances.

The case will likely go to federal court for review.